(by Diana Beabout)

Image by Alexandra from Pixabay

This Week: From Theory into Practice

Big Idea: Evolving research impacts teaching & learning.

Since Plato, many theories of learning have been developed, researched, applied, and modified, each one with a different take on how students learn. Learning theories describe “how students absorb, process, and retain knowledge during learning.” The number of different theories can be a bit overwhelming but we’re going to focus on a few of them, especially in relation to learning in the ‘digital age’ (If you’d like to see the expanse of learning theories over time, check out this graphic created by Richard Millwood from his blog)

Today there are new ideas, remixed ideas, old ideas that have been re-packaged or tweaked to address learning, particularly in this ‘digital age’. This week our focus turns to some of these learning theories as we reflect on the question “How might we utilize learning theories to engage and motivate our students and colleagues?”

Resources on Learning Theories
Some of the resources for this week on learning theories are academic research papers that are important to educational research but can be a bit dense and lengthy. Here are some supplemental resources you can explore including videos and articles…

Image by athree23 from Pixabay

Online 13 Blog Posts: Connected Learning

This unit prompted reflection and discussion on personal learning experiences. A few perspectives from our Online 13 cohort…

Justin: “Connected learning”
Justin questions Josh Kaufman’s theory of 20 hours to get “good enough” at anything relating his own learning experiences. Justin shares, “When I think about three of my passions (tennis, climbing and photography)…and have spent well over 20 dedicated hours, “good enough” would not be even close to a label/level of comfort I would be satisfied with. All three are lifelong and enduring. They continually challenge me, empower me to persevere and have enough varying degrees of challenge…Essentially, all three continually ask me to step out of my comfort zone.”

David: “Scared of Learning”
David provides honest and reflective insight into his own challenges with learning, specifically learning Icelandic. He then applies this to student learning sharing, “So, how can I ensure moving forward that students are not as afraid of making a mistake when they start to learn a new skill? This is where the idea of connected learning comes in, both digitally and face-to-face. Connected learning is the intersection of a student’s interests, school work, and life at home. If students are given dedicated time to work on their own interest, such as with Genius Hour,and time to work on a skill, they can gain practice at the 20 hour rule brought up by Kaufman.”

Brandon: “Learning: Do You See the Connection?”
Brandon explores an action plan framework to learn more about self-paced learning to implement in his classroom. Brandon shares his inspiration, “Now that I am a teacher and help to facilitate the learning of tiny individuals, I give a lot more thought to what it means to be a learner and someone who actively seeks out new information and tries new things. …I  recently read a book titled Atomic Habits by James Clear and it has really transformed my life. In the book, Clear states that in order to make anything a practice, we must have a plan in place. He also states that by “stacking habits” we can create a whole slew of healthy habits that become second nature to us. It also changes the way that we think about ourselves and how we identify.”

Reminder: The Course 1 Project

Each course has a final project that is posted as your week 6 blog post (with a project reflection). For course one, you will be uploading a unit plan that incorporates the essential understandings from this course. Ideally, you will be either designing a new unit that you hope to use soon or perhaps tweaking a unit you recently finished so that it’s ready to go for next year. You can find the details, examples, and templates needed here. Feel free to use whatever unit planner layout that you use in your school (just be sure it includes the same key elements in some shape or form). Please note that you will provide two pieces to be assessed: the unit planner and a reflective blog post. If you have any questions, please ask.